Review: Qatar Airways A350-900 Business Class London Heathrow – Doha

Review: Qatar Airways A350-900 Business Class London Heathrow – Doha

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow Terminal 4
Qatar Airways A350-900 Business Class London Heathrow – Doha (QR2)

After flying the Qsuite from Doha to London and enjoying a long weekend in London visiting relatives, it was time to head back to the Gulf – and to work. I was thankful that there was award space on my favorite flight back from London, and I used Avios to buy the ticket.

I arrived at Terminal 4 on a regular summer Sunday at 19.30 for the 21.30 departure to Doha. Qatar Airways operates two red eyes from London to Doha everyday, with the second leaving at 21.55, so check-in was – naturally – a zoo.

Qatar Airways Premium Lounge London Heathrow

Qatar Airways operates its own lounge at Terminal 4. Access is limited to passengers ticketed in First and Business Class only – unfortunately, your Privilege Club and Oneworld status won’t get you into this exclusive space (elites are sent to the Skyteam Lounge, which, on my last visit in 2015, had great views but terrible food).

I took a bunch of photos but unfortunately none of them were worthy of posting, so if you click here you can see some professional-grade photos on the Qatar Airways website.

The lounge is well-designed and boasts a beautiful fountain in the middle. There are seats and power plugs along the windows, leading to a circular food and beverage bar where staff are on hand to plate dishes, pour you a glass or champagne or make you a coffee. The lounge staff are also happy to serve you wherever you are sitting in the lounge.

There are plenty of complimentary reading materials, as well, with the latest newspapers and magazines thoughtfully laid out.

If you walk past the bar area, you’ll find the a la carte restaurant. It’s a quiet, dark and closed private space with white tablecloths. I often find that it’s the least crowded part of the lounge, so will often go straight back there and set up shop at one of the tables.

Overall, the food and beverages on offer in this lounge are great. I would note that it does get busy at peak times when there are a couple back-to-back Qatar Airways departures (early/mid afternoon and at night), so you’re best off arriving early for a better seat.

The Flight: London Heathrow – Doha

QR2
LHR-DOH
D: 21.30
A: 06.20
Business, 1A
Airbus A350-900
A7-ALJ

Boarding began at precisely 20.45 and I was the first across the threshold of door L1. The cabin was hot – nearly the same temperature as on the ground in Doha when we would land. The crew apologized and said it was because they were still refueling. That caught me off-guard as I’ve been on refueling aircraft before. Perhaps the Auxiliary Power Unit was temporarily shut off.

The Cabin Senior escorted me to my seat, 1A, and helped me store my baggage in the overhead compartment (not that I needed it, but I appreciated the assistance). There are a couple important things to note about the window seats in row 1 on Qatar’s A350.

First is that the foot cubby is much wider than other, non-bulkhead seats. Second is that compartment next to your knees does not open. Instead, there is a compartment to the right of the screen underneath the . Also, the position of the show drawer differs from the other seats (and, notably, is much larger). I’ll have photos in an upcoming, more detailed review of Qatar’s A350 – which I flew to New York and back a few weeks after the London trip.

Crew member Juhee came and welcomed me on board and asked if I wanted drinks and a cold towel. She soon brought menus PJs and a black BRICS amenity kit. 20.55 the rest of business (likely the lounge people) came on board.

The food menu featured a somewhat more substantial dinner service and a light breakfast for the morning. This is interesting because they serve full course meals in their lounge. Presumably, passengers would eat in the lounge then opt for a heavier breakfast.

The Japanese Cabin Services Director, Asami, came to have the chats. She said she’d been with the airline for 10 years and gave me some information about the flight, including that it was oversold and our air time would be 6hr15min.

Soon after the Qatari Captain welcomed passengers on board first in Arabic then in English. We pushed back at 21.20 and took off 30 minutes later, just behind a BA 777-200ER carrying my friend James home to Dubai.

At 22.20 Asami poured me a glass of Mount Loungi Ghiran The Hollows Shiraz 2013 from Victoria, Australia at my seat, which was accompanied by a ramekin of nuts. Qatar usually warms the ramekin prior to being served – that wasn’t the case on this flight. The good news is the Shiraz was excellent.

Asami kept the wine free-flowing throughout the service. 40 minutes later she served the traditional bread basket and an amuse bouche of foie gras and onion chutney. The chutney was on-point but frankly there was too much foie gras on the cracker. We hit some bad turbulence so the meal service was put on hold, putting that wicked temptress, sleep, further out of my reach.

I decided to take a mid-meal nap and woke up when Asami served the salmon starter. This is a Qatar Airways Business Class staple – you’ll find it on most of their flights. It’s cured salmon with a horseradish and chive potato salad. And it is nothing short of fantastic!

I followed the starter with the marinated lamb loin with rosemary jus, which is served with dauphinoise potatoes and sun blushed tomato ratatouille. I don’t often order red meat on an airplane, and this dish was a great reminder why: the lamb was incredibly tough. The potatoes were fine but nothing to write home about, and the ratatouille was good

After dinner I slept for a couple hours. At about 05.00, an hour out from Doha, Asami brought the fennel and apple energizer and a pineapple and mango smoothie. Both drinks are consistently found as part of Qatar’s breakfast offerings energizer, but the specific ingredients vary. The energizer on this flight was bitter but the smooth was perfect! The traditional bread basket followed – you’ll nearly always find a tasty croissant, mini loaf of sourdough bread and a muffin in it.

 

The omelette and chicken sausage were very good – the consistency of eggs on airplanes is hard to get right but Qatar’s London caterers succeeded. The mushrooms, however, were completely cold and the potatoes lacked flavor. The stand-out part of the dish was the tomato. Make of that what you will.

The Arrival

We landed at 05.56 after a smooth descent into Doha. Much to my chagrin we arrived at a remote gate and waited ten minutes before the ground staff drove the stair car up to door L2. I boarded the bus dedicated to Business Class passengers and was landside by 06.20.

The Cheatline

Seat: 8.5/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Spirits: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10

This was a fairly typical Qatar Airways Business Class flight – nothing stood out really. The only drawback was that the meal service was too slow for a six-hour long red eye flight. Given that Qatar do a proper service on even 45-minute/1-hour flights, I know they can step up their game.

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